Profiles in IT: Seven Inspirations

We talk with a handful of leaders who are making big footprints in the world of IT. They'll show you how they've inspired their staff, pulled off high-profile projects with flair and are successfully merging business with technology.

No doubt about it, working in IT is one tough job. It can also be a thankless one. It was hard enough a year ago, when money flowed relatively freely; now, you’re expected to do the same job and more, but with a severely slashed budget.

Despite all the challenges, we know that IT professionals labor quietly on, often in obscurity. We’re not talking about the top CTO at General Motors here; we’re talking about you, an enterprise systems manager, VP of Technology, maybe CIO or CTO, maybe in a Fortune 1000 company with global reach, maybe in government or education, maybe in a service provider or consulting firm or elsewhere. You’ve got a lot of tough projects to recommend, supervise, roll out and complete, on time and within budget.

In recognition of the many often unnoticed IT leaders out there, we asked our columnists and contributing editors to nominate some "IT inspirations"—low-profile executives and top-level managers who inspire their staff, who pull off amazing projects under insane deadlines, who have implemented a miraculous new customer management system that is quietly saving the company money, or are setting new standards in business and technology working together, or making strides in security, or data mining, or e-commerce.

Based on their nominations, we selected the following seven individuals and interviewed each of them at length, despite reluctance from some of them to be pushed into the limelight. Here are our first seven Enterprise Systems IT Inspirations; may we all be inspired to greater heights by their achievements.

—Linda Briggs

Molding Information

Andrew Winer, CIO, Myers Industries

The Business of IT

Darrell Zerbe, CIO, Ryerson Tull

Banking on Online

Patrick Swanick, CEO, Key Electronic Services

Change Agent

Dave Wennergren, deputy CIO for e-business and security,
Department of the Navy

Melding Business with IT

Tom Nealon, CIO, The Feld Group

Big-Time Windows

Dave Shaw, principal, Genesis ii

One Percent of the World's Data

Milton Halem, assistant director and CIO, NASA

About the Author

Bob Mueller is a writer and magazine publishing consultant based in the Chicago area, covering technology and management subjects.